Cardiff Blues will travel to face Bedford Blues on Saturday, September 14 as preparations intensify for the 2019-20 season.
John Mulvihill’s men travel to Goldington Road for a ‘Battle of the Blues’, with former Cardiff RFC favourite Mike Rayer also director of rugby at the Championship club.
It is the first pre-season friendly announced this summer with further plans set to be confirmed next week.
Mulvihill said: “It is great to be back in for pre-season training and the boys have returned in really good shape, which is testament to them.
“The hard work is well underway and we’re looking forward to getting stuck into the Celtic Cup programme and our pre-season friendlies.
“Bedford will provide us with a solid test early on and the opportunity to try some new combinations and options both attack and defence. Travelling away from the Arms Park will also give us an opportunity to trial new match-day preparations in order to get our away from home record started.
“They are one of the leading teams in the Championship and did really well to finish third last year when you consider the quality of London Irish and Ealing Trailfinders.
“There is also a nice link with Mike Rayer, who is remembered so fondly at the Arms Park, director of rugby up there and I’m sure there will be a good travelling contingent from the region.”
The fixture will be one to remember for Rayer, who made 367 appearances for Cardiff RFC over two stints between 1984 and 2001.
He added: “Being able to welcome a team and organisation of the calibre of Cardiff Blues to Goldington Road is real bonus and not just for the playing side of the club but also the Town itself. This is just the type of fixture we will need heading into the start of the season and will certainly be a real test of where we are as a group.
“Cardiff Blues will no doubt want to hit the ground running in the PRO14 and make a significant challenge for honours next season so hopefully this game will be of great benefit to the both of us. There were definitely glimpses of potential at times last year from them and now as John Mulvihill enters his second year in charge I’m sure we’ll see his influence and style of play coming to the fore.
"While this is a friendly game, we'll be expecting big things from the lads and will be using the encounter as the last chance to see what our best combinations are as we head into the Championship season. All the ingredients are there for a classic Goldington Road clash."